TAMPA - Mickayla Tucker was looking forward to eating her left overs of chicken Alfredo from the Green Iguana on Anderson Road in Tampa but that was before she heard about its recent health inspection.
"Did you know they were recently shut down?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.
"What you mean recently shut down?" Mickayla asked.
"Shut down for a rodent problem," Ryan responded.
"I didn't know that!" she said in surprise.
On July 16, state inspectors closed the restaurant for 19 hours after discovering a live rodent in a trap and 26 rodent droppings in the storage room.
"How do you feel about that?" Ryan asked Mickayla.
"That's disgusting! I don't want to come back again ever," Mickayla said emphatically.
So Ryan went inside the Green Iguana to find out how the conditions are now.
"How long have you been the manager here?" Ryan asked the manager on duty, who goes by Jennifer.
"Five years," Jennifer said and added that she wasn't allowed to say much.
"Did you know about the closure? Did you know they were shut down?" Ryan asked.
"Basically, we aren't allowed to have any comments or anything like that," Jennifer answered.
The sign outside the Green Iguana says 'The Best Burger in the Bay Area' but inspectors had a different opinion on the food, writing up temperature violations during the last two visits.
On July 16, they found chicken wings, chicken breasts, deli meats and cooked onions all at improper temperatures.
And on March 20, inspectors issued a stop sale, making the restaurant throw out seven pounds of ground beef, 43 chicken breasts, three pounds of grouper, six salmon steaks and eight mahi mahi filets along with six molded oranges.
The handling of the food has been an issue over the last year too, as inspectors documented repeat violations with employees not washing their hands, raw food stored over cooked items which can cause cross contamination and food not date marked.
"Have you had the same staff here for a while?" Ryan asked.
"Yes," Jennifer said.
"It seems like some of the violations inspectors found were repeat violations?" Ryan mentioned.
"Like I said, I'm not allowed to comment on anything," Jennifer responded. And told Ryan to contact the corporate office.
But even after a tasty meal, Mickayla may not go for round-two.
"Are you going to eat those leftovers?" Ryan asked Mickayla.
"No, I'll give it to the dog," Mickayla said.
GREEN IGUANA STATEMENT:
The Green Iguana Anderson was closed temporarily on July 16, 2013 to ensure
full compliance with all Health Department Regulations. The incident that
prompted the temporary closing was isolated and occurred in a non-food
preparation area separate from the Kitchen. Corrective measures have been
taken to fully comply with the Department of Business and Professional
Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants. The company¹s national pest
control company that maintains the property completed a thorough inspection
both before and after the incident occurred. They maintain that the
incident was isolated and was the product of preventative maintenance. All
equipment has been inspected and found to be in proper working condition. In
addition, the company performed a thorough, professional cleaning of the
Green Iguana works very closely with the Health Department to ensure proper
food safety and compliance with all Health Department Regulations. Due to
the incident occurring while the representative from Health Department was
performing the inspection procedure mandated the closure of the building for
the minimum of 24 hours. We take this responsibility seriously and have
responded promptly and completely. We are currently in compliance with the
Health Department standards and regulations.
COO, Managing Partner
Green Iguana Entertainment & Restaurant Group, LLC.
"We've Always Been Green"
P.O. Box 13109
Tampa, Florida 33681